ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Missouri’s Attorney General announced Monday that 169 law enforcement agencies in the state have cleared their backlogs of untested sexual assault kits.
In total, 3,298 kits have been sent to the state’s lab to be tested.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt also said Monday there are now three cases being prosecuted because of the effort to clear the backlog, known as the SAFE Kit Initiative.
In September 2021, Springfield Police announced all of its untested kits had been sent to a lab for testing, leaving none left in the department.
Springfield’s Police Chief responded to a 2018 report by CNN about rape kits being destroyed and said the department does not operate like that anymore.
In 2019, the department discovered its property room had a backlog of 231 untested kits.
Schmitt launched the SAFE Kit initiative three years ago. It was paid for by a federal grant and state funding. Departments like Springfield Police also received funding locally to help with the effort.
DNA from the kits that have enough DNA information about the suspect will be uploaded into the FBI’s database for DNA profiles of criminal offenders, called CODIS, or Combined DNA Index System. When DNA profiles are uploaded to CODIS, the system scans to see if the profile matches an offender already in the system.
CODIS hits from Missouri kits have led to prosecution in three cases:
- A 2015 rape in Independence, Missouri
- The rape of an 18-year-old in St. Joseph
- Additional charges in Boone County on a suspect already in jail
The Missouri Attorney General’s office created a central repository for untested sexual assault kits and is designing a tracking website to make sure a large backlog never happens again in Missouri.